Well, I can officially count this day as a success, albeit a delayed one. I left a tantalizingly warm bed to log onto the Belgrano website and try to register for classes at 8:00 sharp. Any college student can understand the importance of going through registration smoothly: your classes, credits, and enjoyment for the next semester hinge upon landing a spot in the right class. It was especially important this morning, as we had to actually attend the classes we signed up for in the same day; the first one started at 10 am. Unfortunately, there must have been some miscommunication during the orientation, because registration wasn’t open yet. I spent a stressful 45 minutes in front of the computer trying to figure it out before giving it up for a lost cause. Throwing on shorts and a sweatshirt, I caught a bus to the park for a morning run.
I came back to my apartment in Recoleta to find that registration was finally open. I successfully landed all of the classes I wanted: Spanish Avanzado A; Argentine History and Literature; Argentina: Sociedad Abierta; Cine Latinoamericano; and Tango Danza. That’s right, yours truly is going to try to learn how to dance this semester. Luckily I’m leaving the country in a few months, so I can escape any reputation that I develop.
With schedule in hand, I arrived at Belgrano at 12:15. I met with my adviser to go over my new classes, as well as a travel agent to discuss the possibility of going to Bariloche for a ski trip. I finished with time to spare, found my classroom, and settled in for my first ever class in Buenos Aires: Spanish Avanzado A. I was able to understand everything the teacher said to us, as well as talk with my classmates about our homes, schools, and plans for the semester. It was a much-needed boost for my Spanish confidence, which has taken a beating in the last week. Almost every Argentine I’ve met so far seems determined to speak as fast as possible, throwing a spray of Spanish slang, tinged with the heavy Argentine accent (all “ya” sounds become “sha”). Thanks to my teacher’s clear pronunciation, however, I was able to settle into a Spanish groove. The first class went smoothly, as did my second (Argentine History and Literature).
Now, you may think that successfully navigating the first day of class at a new university is cause for celebration, but that was not the highlight of the day. That bright spot came after I directed my tired feet towards Barrio Chino, Argentina’s Chinatown.
Let me explain what may seem like an odd destination. Argentina is an amazing country, and Buenos Aires is an amazing city, but there is one ever-so-vital thing missing: peanut butter. That smooth, salty, creamy, savory, spread easily makes up 30% of my daily food intake at home, but I hadn’t seen a single morsel of it since stepping off the plane. Those of you who know me well will understand what a blow this was; talk about culture shock! Anyway, rumor was that a determined shopper, such as myself, could find the golden-brown goodness in the supermarkets of Barrio Chino…
And they were right! Stacked in rows on a shelf in the back corner of a Chinese supermarket were jars of “crema de maní.” After sampling it at home, I have to say that it is certainly no Tedy, heck Skippy might even be a step up. But it is peanut butter, and therefore I love it. I think I may just survive this trip after all….we’ll have to see how it tastes with banana.